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Visit to Nauru and Tuvalu.

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The Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs

Media Release

16 July 2009

Visit to Nauru and Tuvalu I have just completed a visit to Nauru and Tuvalu during which I undertook a range of meetings with key government leaders and community stakeholders.

There have been few opportunities for Australian government representatives to visit either of these countries in past years. Because of this I greatly appreciated the unique opportunity to travel to these island nations to discuss a number of issues of common concern, including the upcoming Pacific Islands Forum Leaders' Meeting (4-7 August) and progress on partnership discussions.

While in Nauru I met with President Stephen and Foreign Minister Keke. I also had lunch with a number of key ministers and attended a reception with members of Nauru's Parliament.

Australia has made a renewed commitment to bilateral relations with Nauru through additional measures announced in the 2009-10 Budget, which provides funding to ensure the Consulate-General is resourced through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade over the medium-term, like other diplomatic missions.

I was able to see first-hand the progress on construction of the Nauru Secondary School Technical and Vocational Educational Training Facility, being built at a cost of some A$10 million with Australian development assistance.

While in Tuvalu, I met with Governor-General Filoimea Telito, Finance Minister Metia, and other ministers in the Tuvalu cabinet. I had previously met with Tuvaluan Prime Minister Ielemia in Kiribati, before visiting Nauru and Tuvalu.

I was pleased to announce the offer of a place on the DFAT International Participation Graduate Training program in 2009 for an official from the Tuvalu Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Labour.

I also inspected AusAID funded water tanks, which provide a much-needed resource in Tuvalu.

In both countries I made special mention of Australia's efforts on climate change. Australia

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will continue to impress on world leaders that the impacts of climate change are already a reality for small island states in the Pacific, and register the clear message that action and leadership are essential to address this issue.

Media inquiries: Mr Kerr's office - 02 6277 4991 - Departmental Media Liaison 02 6261 1555

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